Three ar­rested for ‘smash­ing an In­dian’

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THREE men, who al­legedly wanted to “smash an In­dian”, have been ar­rested and charged in con­nec­tion with the killing of an In­dian man in South Carolina in March, which sent shock­waves across the com­mu­nity in the US.

Har­nish Pa­tel was shot dead out­side his home in Lan­caster on March 2, barely 10 days af­ter the killing of an In­dian en­gi­neer in Kansas state.

The men ar­rested ear­lier this month have so far been charged only with con­spir­acy to com­mit rob­bery and not di­rectly with the killing of Pa­tel, as the in­ves­ti­ga­tions pro­ceed, The Her­ald, a lo­cal news­pa­per based in Rock Hill, re­ported.

Jaquin­ton Tradell Blair, LaJames Arteian Ross and Richard Stewart “had roles in the rob­bery and con­spir­acy” ac­cord­ing to ar­rest war­rants re­leased by po­lice.

TV sta­tion WSCO quoted Lan­caster Sher­iff Barry Faile as say­ing: “Al­though no one has yet been charged with the mur­der of Mr Pa­tel, our in­ves­ti­ga­tors con­tinue to work this case hard.

“We are con­tin­u­ing to put in­for­ma­tion to­gether and will not slow down un­til we are sat­is­fied we have the whole story and have ar­rested the per­son or per­sons di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for Mr Pa­tel’s death.”

WSCO re­ported that Blair was ar­rested on June 6 and Stewart and Ross on June 8.

But the ar­rests and the charges were of­fi­cially made public only last week.

Ear­lier, of­fi­cials had re­ported dif­fi­cul­ties in get­ting wit­nesses to the crime or any­one with knowl­edge of it to reach out to the author­i­ties.

The three ar­rested men ap­pear to be African Amer­i­cans in pho­tos re­leased by lo­cal law en­force­ment.

The Her­ald said: “The war­rants cite the words ‘smash an In­dian’, as used by the three peo­ple ar­rested.

“The phrase is the first in­di­ca­tion that the crime could pos­si­bly have been a hate crime.”

But the news­pa­per re­ported that Doug Barfield, the spokesper­son for the Lan­caster County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice, re­fused to dis­cuss the mo­tive for the crime and said he was not aware of any hate crime in­ves­ti­ga­tion by fed­eral author­i­ties.

Hate crimes are of­ten pros­e­cuted by fed­eral of­fi­cials.

Pa­tel was shot dead when he re­turned home af­ter clos­ing his Speedee Mart store lo­cated near the Sher­iff ’s of­fice.

Ac­tivists have tried to link the at­tacks on In­di­ans to white su­prem­a­cists and the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Adam Pur­in­ton, who is ac­cused of killing Srini­vas Kuchib­hotla in Olathe and wound­ing Alok Madasani and an Amer­i­can Ian Gril­lot, who came to their de­fence, while yelling at the In­di­ans, “Get out of my coun­try,” is white and has been charged by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in a fed­eral court with a hate crime.

How­ever, the men charged in con­nec­tion with Pa­tel’s killing ap­pear to be from the African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity that is over­whelm­ingly Demo­crat. – IANS

Har­nish Pa­tel was shot dead in March. Right: Flow­ers placed out­side his busi­ness.

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